Movies

Happy Bhag Jayegi, Unindian: blending of different cultures dominate cinemas this week

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MUMBAI: There are quite a few films around stories of India-Pakistan cross connections and some seem to benefit both Hindi as well as Pakistani industries as the trans-border themes find more acceptance because of commonality in cultures and could help create a common market.

Happy Bhag Jayegi takes the two countries one story film even closer in cultures. The story in this film moves within 50 kilometers on two sides Punjab: Amritsar in India and Lahore in Pakistan. As expected, the film has an extensive use of Punjabi dialogue.

In age-old tradition, Happy aka Diana Penty’s marriage is fixed to an aspiring local politician Jimmy Shergill by her father Kanwaljit Singh. But, Diana is deeply and truly in love with Ali Fazal, a wannabe musician. The wedding ceremony is about to take place when, as planned, Happy jumps in to an open truck parked under her window to make her escape to meet Ali.

Not wanting to be found, Diana hides herself in a huge carton. But, there has been a mistake. Diana has jumped into a wrong truck and this truck is headed to Lahore in Pakistan via Wagah check post to deliver some stuff there. The carton lands at its destination at the house of Abhay Deol, son of the Punjab province ex-governor Javaid Sheikh.

Abhay is engaged to his childhood friend Momal Sheikh. This is when Diana makes her presence felt, jumping out of the carton. This spells trouble for Abhay as Momal suspects some hanky-panky between Diana and Abhay. It takes a while for Abhay to clear all doubts as both, Momal and Abhay decide to help Diana unite with Ali.

Abhay decides to make a trip to India to find Ali and bring him to Pakistan to bring the two lovers together. In India, he has to contend with Jimmy and his goons who are holding Ali in captivity. While Abhay is away in India, Jimmy’s contacts in Pakistan have kidnapped Diana who is now under their custody.

Javaid sees in Abhay a worthy heir to his political ambitions. His catch phrase in anything to do with Pakistan is: Will change the history of Pakistan. And he feels Abhay can do it too. As a political ploy, Abhay convinces Javaid that they should arrange a community marriage of 100 needy suitors which would help them gain political mileage. Actually, his plan is to also get Ali and Diana tie the knot in the crowd of 100 couples, now that he has brought Ali from India and also got Diana freed.

The marriage jamboree is about to begin when Jimmy who followed Abhay to Pakistan plans to take Ali’s place in the wedding ceremony. Kanwaljit has also reached the venue and a free for all follows making for a funny climax.

Happy Bhag Jayegi is a fairly funny movie with no real negative shades as villains also have comic shades. The film is well scripted as its first half passes smoothly. It sags in the second half, making up to some extent in the climax. There is a problem as the film uses too much of Punjabi - in typical local twang. Direction is able. India Pakistan locales are mixed well. Thankfully, the film has few songs and all are peppy blending well with the theme. Cinematography is good.

Performances are generally good. Abhay Deol is restrained. Jimmy Shergill is impressive as ever, this time in a comic role. Diana Penty impresses in the role of a typical tomboyish Punjabi girl. Ali Fazal carries his deadpan expression through as needed for his character. Momal Sheikh is fair. Special mention must be made of Piyush Mishra who excels.

The film, as expected, has had a poor opening and some improvement over the weekend will be limited mainly to Delhi-Punjab areas due to use of Punjabi flavour and language in the film.

Producers: Anand L Rai, Krishika Lulla.

Director: Mudassar Aziz.

Cast: Abhay Deol, Diana Penty, Ali Fazal, Jimmy Shergill, Javaid Sheikh, Momal Sheikh, Kanwaljit Singh, Piyush Mishra.

UnIndian

UnIndian is a crossover romance drama and this time, the action moves from our traditional base of such romances - UK or US - to down under in Australia. With a self-made but divorcee woman and traditional parents, a cultural clash becomes the mainstay of this film. While usually such films are loaded with loud Punjabi characters; this one is not.

Tannishtha Chatterjee is a divorcee living in Australia. She has a daughter and parents, Supriya Pathak and Akash Khurana, who retain their Indian values and traditions. Supriya and Akash, like all well-meaning Indian parents, want their daughter to find a doctor or some such of an Indian background, well settled in life to begin her life anew.

Bret Lee is an Australian who teaches English as it is used in Australia at the university. The plan is for the settlers from all over to learn the language making it easier for them to blend in society. The tables turn on Lee when he sees and instantly falls in love with Tannishtha. Now he needs to learn things that are Indian.

Lee has help at hand in Arka Das, his Indian roommate who is a TV anchor of a food show. Arka knows only as much about India as Lee does but guides him all the same. This helps create some funny situations and laughter.

The love story deals with some side issues while also promoting some tourism for Australia as the love story braves the cultural divide.

UnIndian is a mildly funny film about meeting of two cultures through the easiest route: a love story. The script is plain with some loose ends but there is just about as much you can do in such a story where distractions cannot be crammed in as in action or song and dance. Direction is fair and the second half of the film goes a bit awry while dealing with unnecessary mush Indian style. Dialogue is simple and witty. Cinematography is competent.

Tannishtha Chatterjee is natural and sails through the film easily. Bret Lee is better than expected. Arka Das is very good. Supriya Pathak is natural. Akash Khurana and the rest are okay in support.

UnIndian will find very limited patronage at a few metro multiplexes.

Producer: Krian Pictures.

Direction: Anupam Sharma.

Cast: Brett Lee, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Supriya Pathak, Akash Khurana, Arka Das, Gulshan Grover, Pallavi Sharda.

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